Mind your Social Manners : Facebook Friend Etiquette


Similar to Facebook commenting, your primary objective when adding new Facebook friends should be to avoid looking creepy.

That’s right; it’s not about making sure you’ve added all your cousins or looking up your long lost college roommate.facebook_friends

Listen to us on this one.

Turning down the creep factor, however, is easier said than done. Certain Facebookers believe that their friend count is a reflection of their real-life popularity. (We all KNOW that no one has 2,452 friends, yet I suppose there’s something to the perception that if a person has 2,452 Facebook friends, they probably have a rockin’ real-world social life.)

Gauging your popularity through your number of acquired Facebook friends, however, can lead to some unwise, impulsive friend-making decisions. Suddenly that guy you met at a party, or your friend’s friend’s boyfriend, becomes fair game. This is further magnified by the fact that you’ve probably already added most, if not all, of your ACTUAL family and friends, leaving mostly, um, “randoms,” as I call ‘em.

((Sidenote: Personally speaking, I tend to gauge Facebook popularity not by number of friends but by engagement. Anyone can start friending randoms and get a good number of them to accept. But these same high-friend-count peeps can have low engagement on their posts. On the other hand, people with the Facebook average of 245 friends can get heavy engagement.  It all comes down to the quality of your friends and the information you post.))

Facebook friending raises some other issues too:

First, Facebook is absolutely a window into your life: your photos, your status updates, your likes, your information. To think that stranger-friends won’t root through your profile is naïve. The “looser” your friending policy, the more strangers have access to these things. Of course, you can finagle your settings so that they see limited personal information, but isn’t that kind of a pain and defeating of the purpose of Facebook?

Keep in mind, too, that anyone you friend has the ability to somewhat affect your image, by either leaving comments, writing on your wall, and friending your friends. (We’ve probably all had that person we wish we hadn’t friended.)

Friending has also made the dating scene more tricky. Say you’ve been on a couple of dates with a person, and you like ‘em but still have lots to discover about each other. Then a friend request appears, and suddenly this person will have access to all 481 of your photos. Your family, your friends, your trip to Cancun are all right there, before you’ve had the chance to tell your story your way. It can result in a weird, unnatural acceleration of the normal “getting to know you” process.

Can TKGenius help you navigate these things perfectly? No, but we can at least save you from looking like a creeper, and maybe provide an idea or two on making good Facebook friending calls:

  • Don’t friend strangers. Whether it’s someone you’ve only met once who probably doesn’t remember you to trolling your friends’ friends for more friends, you don’t want the invitee to go, “Who?! Ew!”
  • Don’t friend the guy/gal you never talked to in high school. If you didn’t speak in high school, you probably won’t find much value in friending them now, and it comes off as bizarre behavior. Even more bizarre than you were in high school.
  • Don’t friend the guy/gal you met at a party for 10 minutes. Creepy! You’re asking someone you know almost nothing about to open up a huge chunk of their lives for you. If it’s someone you’d like to ask out for a date, opt for a Facebook message instead.
  • Don’t friend someone if there’s a chance they’re going to respond, “Huh?” Similar to friending a stranger, ask yourself if you’re confident this person will know who you are before sending a friend request.
  • Don’t friend someone if there’s a chance they’re going to respond, “Why?” The last thing you want is to send a request to someone, only to have that person text a friend, “ZOMG! You won’t believe who just friended me!!!!”
  • Don’t friend someone who reports to you at work. It puts that person in an incredibly awkward position.
  • Don’t friend your superiors unless you’re 100% comfortable with them having that much access to your life. There may be pics of your infamous keg stands from 2009….just sayin’.
  • Don’t friend a coworker unless you’re pretty darn sure it’s cool with them. Even with coworkers of equal standing, tread lightly.
  • Don’t friend someone you just started dating. Your “Facebook life” is huge, and potentially a huge can of worms.Don’t add the extra pressure of a friend request.

Once again, we’re pros at telling you what not to do. :)

So, what SHOULD you do? Our rather simple advice is to approach Facebook friendships with the same etiquette that you do your offline personal and professional friendships. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean certain behaviors can be off-putting. Use common sense, follow our list of don’ts, and you’ll be the least creepy “friend-er” on Facebook.

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